Fungal Laser Nail Surgery

Fungal Nail Laser Surgery

Fungal nail laser surgery is a treatment designed to address toenail fungus infection, also known as onychomycosis. This stubborn infection can lead to significant changes in the appearance and texture of the nail. Onychomycosis often causes the nails to become discolored (yellow, white, or black), emit an unpleasant odor, and become thick. It is a contagious condition that can originate from athlete's foot, a fungal infection that affects the skin and tends to thrive in warm, humid environments such as the inside of your shoes.

Resolving fungal nail infections typically requires multiple laser treatment sessions before the condition is completely eradicated. To achieve full effectiveness, patients may need consistent treatments for a period ranging from six to 18 months. This extended treatment course is necessary to ensure that the infection is thoroughly eliminated.

How Does The Fungal Nail Laser Surgery Procedure Work? 

The initial consultation for laser treatment of onychomycosis typically involves an evaluation of the symptoms, and the diagnosis is often based on the visible appearance of the affected nail. This type of treatment is administered by a Chiropodist. During each treatment session, your nails will be prepped for the laser therapy to ensure the best results. This includes thinning the nail, cutting it back, and clearing the surrounding areas. Thinner nails allow the laser to penetrate more effectively.

The laser used for this treatment is pain-free and emits energy that is absorbed by the pigment in the fungi. When this energy is absorbed, it generates heat, which gasifies and decomposes the infected tissue, destroying the fungus and the surrounding skin and nail. The heat also has a sterilizing effect, which helps prevent new fungal growth. The laser heat penetrates through the nail to the nail bed, where the fungus resides. It either kills or damages the fungus, allowing the nail to grow normally.

However, it's important to note that a single laser session may not completely eliminate the infection. The fungal growth is inhibited, and some of the microorganisms are destroyed, but the treatment may not fully eradicate the infection. As a result, repeat treatments are typically necessary.

Following the initial session, patients are often provided with home medications such as antifungal creams or oils to further improve their condition. Additionally, using devices like the Sterishoe, which employs UV light technology to eliminate bacteria and fungi in shoes, is recommended to help prevent reinfection and maintain foot health.

Is The Treatment Effective? 

YAG 1064 nm laser machine is approved by the FDA for the treatment of fungal nails (onychomycosis). With laser surgery, most people experience noticeable improvement, and there is a high cure rate as well. This laser machine features different settings and protocols we use and adjust for each unique patient, depending on the outcomes of prior treatments. As such, we have proven results that have led to many satisfied customers.

Laser Treatment VS. Other Options

Laser treatments have been found to be more effective than some other methods for treating fungal nails, also known as onychomycosis. This type of infection can be treated with various approaches, including topical (applied to the skin) antifungal medications, oral antifungals, and over-the-counter or prescription options. However, each of these methods has its limitations and potential drawbacks.

Oral antifungals, which are taken as medication, can cause systemic side effects and are not always completely effective in curing onychomycosis. Topical treatments, which are applied directly to the nails, are generally safe but tend to be less effective because they may struggle to penetrate thickened nails. Additionally, patient compliance is often an issue with topical treatments, as they usually need to be applied daily, and different antifungal medications are required for different types of fungal spores.

The introduction of laser technology, such as the YAG 1064 nm laser used in fungal nail treatment, has provided a more convenient and effective alternative. Laser treatments simplify the process because the laser does the work of penetrating the nail and targeting the fungal infection directly. Clinical studies have reported no adverse side effects associated with the use of laser treatments for fungal nails, and most patients experience significant improvement. This makes laser therapy an attractive option for those looking to address onychomycosis with a lower risk of side effects and better results.

Signs of Improvement

While some people experience resolution of the infection with a single treatment, additional sessions may be prescribed depending on the results. Even effective treatments are not expected to clear an infected nail immediately—it may take up 12 months until the nail grows out before you can tell whether the treatment has been successful.

Signs of improvement include:

  • The disappearance of yellow, white, or brown discoloration of the affected toenail or toenails
  • Resolution of flaky debris under or on the nail
  • Recovery of onycholysis, which is detachment of the nail from the nail bed below
  • Normal shape and texture of new nail growth with no more thickness, bumps, or altered nail shape

Is The Fungal Nail Laser Surgery Procedure Covered By My Insurance?  

This procedure may be covered by your Extended Health Insurance Plan. After your consultation, we can provide you with a pre-estimate request that you can submit to your insurance provider to determine eligibility. Patients with flexible spending account can often use these funds towards procedures such as the laser wart treatment. OHIP does not cover the cost of this procedure.